Saturday, 29 October 2011


Melbourne to Warrnambool:
I had one of those nights where despite checking you set your alarm before you go to sleep you wake constantly assuming it hasn't gone off. This really isn't important, but I figure it's an anecdote that everyone can relate to. I hope you feel included now, because this story may get pretty introspective.

There were long periods of ease in this race, tracking straight into the headwind kept things under control.


The shit well and truely hit the fan when we turned side on to it. There were a couple of sections early on and I was pleased to have weathered them. Just after the feed in Lismore we once again turned and everyone suffered. I'd moved myself up, not because I was smart enough to think about the cross wind, but because of last race when an attack came at the same spot, and I didn't want to fall for it twice.

I got through the first section of road out of town, it took 51km/h and a heart rate of 191bpm to just get onto the back as we turned back into the headwind.

The next section was my undoing. I remember being in the gutter, assuming I was in a reasonable place, only to see 2 full echelons up the road. They were gutter to gutter, I was at the back of the 3rd bunch (not including the break), and it fucking hurt. I don't know how long that road was, or how much time I spent in contact with that 3rd bunch, all I know is it eventually got too much and I cracked.

Another bunch came along, Lee was in it so I grabbed the tail end, right on the white line at the edge of the road. I wasn't faring great, hanging on by the barest of margins, then a gust of wind took me off into the gravel on the side, my bike went squirrelly and I watched any hope of finishing with the bunch ride away.

After that I found a SKCC rider, we rode together slowly picking up others who had also failed to hang on. It was nice (for me) to see Lee again, in fact it was great to see anyone, because I was giving serious thought to calling up my support (Ian, you rock), and throwing in the towel.



In the 65km between the feed at Lismore and the one at Terang we'd lost 20 minutes. Not too long after that, at the 227km mark a couple of twinges I'd done my best to nurse turned into full blown cramps. I again considered ringing Ian, 40km is nothing, but it's an eternity when your legs refuse to move. Standing on the side of the road, I took a photo, I have no idea what I thought it would show, but here it is. One of a pair of legs that refused to go further.


I got rolling just before a bunch containing Tim arrived, I slowly increased my pace, but I wasn't able to match theirs, the effort sent my legs into spasm again. Dave rolled by in the support car, a banana out the window was proffered and I took it, devouring it's natural contents, sure it'd do nothing.

Anyway, from here on the story is kind of boring, another bunch rolled up containing Nick. I sat in while Nick and Gus did all the work on the front, every small rise I was sure I'd be forced out the back with legs locked in pain. I actually felt pretty damn great when we got close enough to feel the line. Dudes were getting angsty and I could smell a sprint in the making. I had a little dig, but nothing too serious, we were racing for 100th.

So that's it, not exciting, just a long hard day that I'm glad to have finished. I do have a much greater feeling of satisfaction than 2 years ago.

Once again, thank you to Ian who gave up his day to drive halfway across the state and back just so I could ride my bicycle in a race I never had a chance of winning.

D: 259.3km
A: 1,085m

Post race cheeseburgers: 10

RHR: 63bpm
PMPW: 94kg


Steve Caddy said...

In case it isn't apparent: I have the hugest respect for you for doing this. Again.

When you have no chance of being on the box. When you contemplate rolling across the line alone for what feels like nothing you want anymore, and you weigh it against the enormous reward of just stopping and going home. Saying no to that voice. That's something.

neil said...

aww thanks dude, i may have recited "fuck you that's why" a few times to help me get to the line.

Diesel (Richard Read) said...

Nice work mate. It was a hard, hard day... but always one of satisfaction.

Great to have your company here and there along the way.

Soon see you on those Wednesday night trails mate. Maybe next week?

neil said...

Dude, I'm pretty impressed that you had the legs to hold on through that cross wind. That was just plain old brutal.